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January 14, 2018
THE MODERATOR: I'd like to welcome James Hahn to the interview room here at the Sony Open in Hawaii. James, a 62 today to get into the playoffs. Low round of the week. And then a six-hole playoff. Obviously, didn't end the way you wanted it to. Talk us through the last stretch there.
JAMES HAHN: During regulation, it kind of felt like there was a certain number that I wanted to hit. I wanted to be -- I told my caddie, after the five in a row, I wanted to be 17 under with 18 to play. And from there, I hit a good tee shot. Anything can happen.
Unfortunately -- I did make it to 17, didn't birdie 18. I had a chance, and then the playoff was just -- hit a lot of good shots but didn't make enough putts. I just kind of felt a little rushed. Felt like the sun was going down, running out of holes. We have our flight to book. I didn't necessarily rush any shots, but it just seemed like everything's happening so fast.
From going completely out of contention to playoffs, you know, the mindset's a little different. Just didn't make good strokes coming at the end.
Q. Because you played 18 so many times, did you change your strategy at all over the course of the four times you played it?
JAMES HAHN: No, I've been hitting driver basically all week. It fits my eye. It's good wind. It's right to left wind. The trees aren't in play for me. I can hit it high enough. Just made some tired swings coming down the stretch. Got a little inside underneath. Didn't have quick enough hands to really turn it over.
But the miss is over to the right. You can make eagle from the right rough. You can make eagle from the left rough too. But I feel like with that pin location, the right rough is definitely the miss. Hit a lot of good shots. Just didn't make the putt.
Q. You were 2-0 in playoffs before this. Did you feel the same way in the other two playoffs?
JAMES HAHN: This one was a little different. God, I teed off 10:30 this morning. Didn't have lunch. Just kind of tired overall, how the week panned out. I've been getting up at 6:30, 7:00 every morning, nice little workout.
I'm not making any excuses. I definitely had enough gas for the playoff. It's just, God, I'm just hungry. A lot of adrenaline. And then that kind of carried over to my putting where I just didn't really feel comfortable.
Q. You kind of answered my question, but (indiscernible) stroke on the putt as well. Can you walk us through the read there.
JAMES HAHN: Yeah, the putt to win it really on 18 in the fourth playoff hole, I think -- I know that putt breaks right. I know the green goes right. And I committed to having the putt go right, and I was going to play either inside left, left edge. When Patton missed his, you kind of second guess yourself. I mean, he missed it a foot left. Didn't go right at all.
Then I asked my caddie for a read, like I always do, and he had it going right to left, straightening up at the end. I was 100 percent sure it was going to go right, 100 percent. We've seen it every year for the last 20 years. Putt goes right.
Didn't make a good stroke, but we played it inside right. As soon as I hit it, it was right edge. This thing was going right. I had no chance. So a little unfortunate that I didn't really trust my own instincts. That's kind of how I lost.
Q. Do you take any solace at all, I think it was 24 holes today and 11 under par?
JAMES HAHN: I played good enough to win, but I didn't. So for me, no how many birdies I make, if I'm not coming out of the room with the trophy, it really feels like I was defeated out there. I mean, I had a putt to win it. I'm going to be playing that over and over and over again, you know, just things that I do. Just become obsessed with trying to win again.
I had a good chance at the Byron Nelson last year, and I felt like there was a putt during the round where I could have gone two up with four to play, and I missed it right. And then same thing here, where I have an opportunity to win the golf tournament, and I miss it right.
So whether or not I made good strokes or misread the putt, I don't think it really matters. I didn't make the putt. Head back and try to figure it out again.
Q. I understand you're playing every week for the next five weeks, right?
JAMES HAHN: I am, yeah.
Q. You can carry some of this momentum hopefully going forward, and I know you play well down in the desert.
JAMES HAHN: I'll try to carry on a lot of momentum. I've been hitting the ball great. I'm putting great. My short game's great. Everything I'm doing is great on the golf course. But you get to this level where you might only have two, three, four opportunities to win out on TOUR. These guys are really good.
Dustin Johnson is going to get a couple. You know Jordan Spieth is going to get a handful, Justin Thomas. So any time you have an opportunity to win and you don't close the deal, I feel like it's just one less opportunity for me.
So I feel really defeated right now. I probably sound that way. I probably feel like the most depressed guy in the room. Sorry. We didn't get nuked, all right? But it's one of those things where, at the end of the day, I'm going to be replaying all the bad shots that I hit and how I can improve, and that's just the kind of person I am. I just keep grinding and just try to get better.
If I sit in this chair talking about how great I played, I wouldn't be myself. It just doesn't feel right. I hate losing. It's the one thing I absolutely -- I'd rather lose by 100 than lose by 1. I'd rather miss the cut than lose in a playoff. It just doesn't sit well with me.
And I'm sure a lot of the great competitors feel the same way. I mean, you can think of basketball players, Michael Jordan, he doesn't shake hands at the end because he just hates losing so much, and that's just me. I mean, take it or leave it. I hate losing. It's just one of those things where I feel like there are -- for me at least, I'm 36 years old. Only a handful of opportunities, and I've let one slip away today.
Q. What does it take you to get over it?
JAMES HAHN: No, absolutely. It makes me stronger, makes me a better golfer. Pushes me to wake up at 4:30 and grind all day. It's one of those things where, once again, I hate losing. I don't know how else to say it. I get more out of people telling me that I can't do it and me being so hard on myself, me being my hardest critic and always wanting to get better.
I wouldn't be here today if I kept patting myself on the back saying, hey, better luck next time. Good job. You did great, 11 birdies today or however many it was. All I could think about was the bogey on the last hole and the missed birdie putt. A lot of five-footers next week. Going to be practicing a lot of those.
Q. Does a victory stay with you longer than a defeat?
JAMES HAHN: Oh, that's a good one. The victories are nice. The victories get you a two-year injunction on TOUR. It gets you into Maui. It gets you into the Masters. Losing doesn't. So right now I'm not in the Masters. I'm not in Maui next year. So definitely need to check off a couple of those boxes.
But to answer your question, I feel like losing sticks with me longer than winning. Yeah. I don't know. What about you?
Q. I lose all the time. (Laughter).
JAMES HAHN: I hope I'm not the only one who says that. For the entire off-season, I couldn't think about anything else other than how I lost the Byron Nelson last year, like that was the only thing I could think about. But then again, practicing during the off-season, there's very little motivation for people because it's such a short off-season, and I'm going to be playing six in a row. So a lot of golf tournaments where you can just practice after any tournament.
For me, it's one of those things where I'm in the gym, practicing, I'm doing a lot of things to get better, and all I can think about is how I lost Byron Nelson last year, and it sucks. And this is going to hurt even more, but that's golf. I live with it. On to the next one.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports